New Mexico poised to elect first openly gay state legislator

New Mexico poised to elect first openly gay state legislator

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jacob Candelaria is poised to become the first openly gay man to serve in the New Mexico state legislature.

Candelaria, 25, won a decisive primary this week for a seat in the New Mexico state Senate, and faces no Republican opposition this fall.

Jacob Candelaria

“We’re thrilled for Jacob and for New Mexico,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, which endorsed Candelaria and supported his campaign.

Candelaria is the former Executive Director of Equality New Mexico, the state’s flagship LGBT advocacy group.

Mary Edna Gonzalez

In Texas last week, political newcomer Mary Edna Gonzalez, an out Latina, won a decisive Democratic primary to represent District 75 (El Paso) in the Texas House of Representatives.

Gonzalez also faces no Republican opponent in November, meaning she will win the El Paso seat and become the state’s only openly LGBT lawmaker.

“This is a big victory for Mary, for El Paso and for Texas,” said Wolfe. Victory Fund endorsed Gonzalez and supported her campaign as well.

Gonzalez will become just the second openly LGBT individual to serve in the Texas legislature, reported Victory Fund. The first, former State Rep. Glen Maxey, served from 1991 to 2003.

Following Candelaria’s and Gonzalez’ wins, and Brian Sims‘ in Pennsylvania earlier this year, there remains only 15 state legislatures with no openly LGBT lawmakers.

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